Help with First USA, need advice

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Struggler, Jul 11, 2001.

  1. Struggler

    Struggler Well-Known Member

    Hi, folks. I'm a newbie to the board but I've been reading posts for some time now. Recently, my wife bought the Lexington credit repair kit. Everything in it makes sense to me. I understand credit because of a former job I was in. Anyway, we got in trouble a couple of years ago. First USA now owns three of the credit cards we have. The Lexington kit says that if a loan is unsecured (read:credit cards), and you owe less than $10,000.00, you probably have nothing to fear from the creditor except intimidation. I've been on FUSA's "assist" programs for two years, sending them money every month and now I owe MORE than what I owed two years ago (naturally).

    I have two questions:

    Does anyone have a contact for someone with FUSA who can make a real decision? I want to settle the accounts, preferably with a "deletion of prior negative credit" clause.

    Between the three cards, we "owe" about $15,000.00 due to late charges, over-the-limit fees, usary interest rates, etc... What are the chances that they would try to come after me legally? I understand that it would cost them probably $10,000.00+ to do so.

    I'm not a deadbeat! I WANT to pay them a fair settlement and at the same time, I don't want them punishing me for years to come on my credit reports.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!!!
  2. MartysGirl

    MartysGirl Well-Known Member

    What do you guys think... Lets help him out he is new to the board...!!!

    MartysGirl ;-)
  3. cable666

    cable666 Well-Known Member

    I'm 3.5 years delinquent with FUSA for over $25k. I think that qualifies me to attempt to answer.

    They are not going to negotiate a positive credit report for a payments.

    I have not been sued, yet. On the other hand, I have no assets to sue for, and I owe a fortune to other CC's too.

    Note: Your results and mileage will vary.... blah blah blah.
  4. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    Stop paying. If they won't give you some kind of terms that are realistic, just stop. Once the account is contiunuously delinquent, you start counting. They will harrass you, there are letters you can send to make them stop. They can take you to court and try to get a judgment against you, word is they won't do that. They will write it off and sell it to someone, who will start over again harrassing you. Then you send more letters to make them stop. After a few years, it will all die down. The statute of limitations will run and you will be home free. In the meantime, your credit is screwed. But then, it is anyway, isn't it? It will end sooner this way.

    You can always take bankruptcy. That stays with you forever, on your credit reports for 10 yrs unless you get lucky.

    Maybe try sending them a letter telling them you aren't going to pay anymore, the terms are impossible, and see if they make you an offer.

    other people will give you more info. But I can tell you from experience, time will take care of it.

  5. Struggler

    Struggler Well-Known Member

    Folks, I REALLY appreciate the input here. It has gotten very hard for me to trust any of the credit repair/advice sites on the Web, but discussing this with real people is encouraging and shows me that I'm not alone. I have, in effect, already stopped paying them. I don't think it's fair for me to throw money at 3 accounts every month when that money will just be washed away in interest, late fees, etc... I hate that FUSA bought these accounts out. I might could have reasoned with the original creditors. From what I understand, there is NO reasoning with FUSA.

    Here's solid proof:
    (see the Hall of Shame)

    I've already worked out terms with another cc company, 60 months at a fixed 12.0%, just like paying off a car. I'm in the process of settling another one on decent terms.

    It seems to me that FUSA would actually prefer to NOT get their money, as opposed to coming to terms with me and getting MOST of it. They would rather keep my credit crappy, just out of spite, than to actually collect on the debt.

    Anyway, sorry about the rant, and thanks again very much for the advice.
  6. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    Rants are accepted with a smile here ;)

    Stick around, we'll hold your hand while you hold them off. Moral support is a big factor in dealing with these situations.

    Reputable companies will put you in a program like you mentioned, in effect making it a closed ended loan and giving you the opportunity to work your way out.

    You can look up your state's statute of limitations here:
    and here:

    The debt can be reported on your credit report for 7 yrs from the date of delinquency, but after some time has passed, you can begin disputing it with some hope of success.

    There are techniques for handling collections, and who knows, maybe they'll sell it to someone who is more reasonable than they are.

    Good luck,

  7. Struggler

    Struggler Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Breeze. The Statute of Limitations in my state is 6 years. Knowing FUSA, they would wait until the 5th year, 11th month and sue me!

    I'm hoping that what you suggested is what will happen; they'll sell it to a company with a shred of common sense and I can then settle. I'm going to keep banging on FUSA's door in the meantime, though. Maybe a miracle will happen and I can get past the low-level, non-caring employees and reach a decision maker.

    Thanks again!
  8. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    If a creditor sues you over an unsecured debt, and you show up for the hearing, the judge will make them negotiate with you.

    However, I have been on various boards like this for a long time, and I have never heard of a credit card company suing anyone, let alone getting anything.

    Be careful what you say to them - you can say something that sounds like a "promise to pay" and undo all the time limits that started with your date f delinquency.

    I don't advocate people not paying their debts, but if they're burying you under predatory rates and penalties, when you would otherwise be able to pay - forget them!!! I think they would rather write it off. Who knows?

  9. Struggler

    Struggler Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice, Breeze. I didn't know that about the judge making them negotiate. What's so stupid is that they (the cc company) can't just do that in the first place. Speaking of predatory rates and penalties, those are, by far, the bulk of the balance. I probably actually charged about 1/3 of what I "owe" them. You would think that they would use some common sense and get *something* as opposed to insisting on ruining my life and getting *nothing.*

    Even now, I would much rather settle this and give them a fair settlement. I strongly believe in paying my debts honorably. I forgot to mention that my credit was impeccable until a couple of years ago, due to unforseen circumstances. That's when they (First USA and others) decided to slam me all at once.
  10. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    Most of us are here due to unforseen circumstances.
    Sometimes life is like being on the ocean in a rowboat.

    Like I told someone on another board, it won't be long before you're looking back on this. We are all tougher than we think we are.

  11. cable666

    cable666 Well-Known Member

    I'm way ahead of you on all this. I too had impeccible credit until circumstances changed and I reached a criticle point where I discovered that I can no longer afford to pay my credit cards.

    I too attempted to negotiate terms. I came up with a plan that would pay back 100 percent of the principal over 8 years that I felt I could honor. No dice. They aren't interested.

    You and I may think that they are crazy not to take this. After all, isn't getting 50 cents better than not getting anything?

    But you see, they are not interested in any financing over time with you. Your promise to pay in the future is worth nothing because you are already delinquent. Unless you can come up with a lump sum settlement, they can't bank on your promise to pay.

    So, since future revenue from you is normally not likely, why should they give up anything in return? Your word is about as good as that of a herion junkie on skid row. It won't buy you anything at all.

    Also, regarding the forced negotiation by a judge. Ain't going to happen. Here is why.

    In small claims court this is true. The judge makes the parties step outside and attempt to reach a settlement. In regular cival court where you are going to be sued, this will not happen.

    Instead, what will happen is that you will probably never get to see a judge or explain you case. After the plaintiff files the suit, they will ask the court for a summary judgement. What this means is that the plaintiff tells the judge that the facts of the case are not in dispute, and that the court must award the plaintiff a judgement. The court will agree and then *voila*, you get a notice in the mail that you lost your case before you even stepped into the courthouse.

    The judge has to rules on facts and by the law. If the facts are not in dispute, you are delinquent and they want their money, then the ruling is a given, so the court doesn't want to waste time listening to you plead for time or terms or whatever. That is not their job.

    The time for negotiations is before the lawsuit. Once the suit is on motion, there is nothing you can do except to dispute the facts of the case. For example, the debt is not yours.

    Your best defense is a stockpile of money, 40 percent of what is owned will work, to offer as a lump sum settlement when they file suit. You can get this money by taking your payments that you have paid to them and put them in a MM account earning insterest on your behalf while you attempt to negotiate a deal.

    Also keep in mind that corporations such a CC issuers have in-house council, or one or more law firms on retainer to take care of their routine legal matters. It is not expensive for them to start the lawsuit, and it is not expensive for them to then ask for a summary judgement. Their clerks and interns do that for them. They just sign the documents.

    They are also aware of the SOL's, so they may have a use-it-or-lose-it policy where they are will file a suit before the SOL expires in order to preserve their right to do so.

    So they set aside enough money for the delinquent accounts to pay for these routine suits and motions. They are predicable expenses and simply part of the cost of doing business.

    It is expensive for them to show up in court or to deal with complications. That is why you need to be creative, and frankly a total bastard when dealing with them. You need to force them to actually pay legal attention to their own suit in order to have it move forward.

    Once that happens, the company has to make the business decision on if to spend the extra money on pursuing you. If the chances of recovery are slim, of course it makes no sense to pursue it.

    I also recommend that if you are in this position that you go ahead and pay for a bankruptcy filing with a good BK lawyer. That way if things don't go your way you can call that lawyer up and tell him to file your papers with the bk court. Plan on spending about $2k minimum for this.

    The reason for this is that you don't want a judgement again you. Filing for bk will stop their lawsuit.

    I've often toyed with the idea that if a suit proceeds and I file BK to freeze it, what if I withdrawl the BK filing or get it thrown out on a techicality, would the original lawsuit then proceed again? I don't know.

    Just proceed carefully. They have all the weapons and experience on their side.
  12. cable666

    cable666 Well-Known Member

    On other thing....

    The worst behaved CA's I have dealt with were hired by FUSA. These CA's broke the law right and left attempting to scare me into paying them money. They are criminal in their techniques.

    So be prepared for some real nasty people to start pursing you. They were so bad that my own lawyer's secretary was afraid for her own safety. I couldn't believe some of things they used to say to her when she refused to let them talk to me or my laywer.
  13. Tuit

    Tuit Well-Known Member

    I am in the same boat and not qualified to give advise however, I suggest getting prepared for all the nasty stuff that is sure to follow. Try to prepare and build defenses for suit that may very well follow.

    Find out if it's legal to have a tape recorder on your phone line, maybe write them right off the bat and offer to settle the accounts for what they would end up selling them to a third party collection agency for. They will refuse but maybe it will help as a defense later on if they do sell and you are sued on debt that has been sold for pennies on the dollar but they wouldn't take your offer. Maybe add a second unlisted phone line or add special ring feature so that you can let the answer machine handle the call on the numbers they have. As breeze and the others have said the harrassment seems to lessen as time goes by, it seems when they find that they cannot easily verbally brow beat you then they start offering settlements (at least in my case) maybe at that point you will get what you were asking for all along.

    You are lucky you have found this board, they will be a ton of help and information for you. At least you are in the position of knowing what you are about to do and can prepare for the onslaught.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, with the help of this board you may be able to take steps that will end up getting FUSA to settle the debts rather than the end result being them filing suit. Seems to me you have the advantage of setting the table, to try to set them up to settle. I wish you success!
  14. cable666

    cable666 Well-Known Member

    Getting a rejected settlement offer from FUSA is not going to help you defend yourself. As I explained earlier, in these types of cases, the judge is not going to negotiate for you, nor will he/she use the court to force the plaintiff into mediation or arbitration. Either you owe or money or you don't. It is simple as that.

    Use the FDCPA to protect yourself. Send CA's and creditors a letter informing them that you are not allowed personal calls at work. It is a violation of the law for them to contact you at work once they are made aware of the situation.

    At home, tape record your conversations anyways, no matter what the law is. That way you can review the tape and transcribe what was said. If it is illegal, don't tell anyone. But the police aren't going to come over and arrest you.

    Not that you should be talking to them on the phone anyways. Never do that. Only communicate in writing.

    Get a digital answering machine that makes no noise when answering the phone and recording a call. Some have a call through feature that allows those who know the code the enter a code that will ring the phone. Give that only to trusted sources.

    Let your friends and family know that you are screening calls and that they will have to go through your answering machine.

    Keep a detailed log of every communication between you and them. The goal here is to catch them in violations of the FDCPA that you can use to counter-sue and leverage a settlement. Bad CA's will trip themselves up. They can't help it.

    Never send them a fax from a home fax or from work. They will use the captured information to attempt to contact you. Instead use Kinkos. It is a violation of FDCPA for them to send nasty faxes back to Kinkos where the employees can read it.

    Dispute everything. The CA's must write to you. Wait 25 days from the receipt of the letter and dispute the debt. They have to halt collection efforts until they provide proof. Make them send you all documentation. I make them have the original creditor mail me a letter directly that the debt was assigned to the CA. I don't take the CA's word for anything. Unless proven otherwise, I assume that the CA is theif out to get my money.

    As I said earlier, hire the best BK attorney in town. It will cost you. Don't go to one of those "we do it all" law firms. Only deal with an firm/attorney who ONLY does bk. The other lawyers don't know enough fight for you.

    Only send letters to creditors and CAs via certified return receipt mail. Make sure you put on the RR a little note to yourself a reference to what was sent. I assign a sequence number to every letter and I use that number to track the letter through the system. That way I can prove that any given letter was delivered to and accepted by the CA.

    The CA's will use some tricks to get you to reveal information in the skip-trace phase. I'm always getting letters from a shipping company that they are trying to deliver an important package to me but they need my address. Can I call their 800 number and ask for extention xxxxx? Sure, right.

    Actually I do call their 800 number. I just do it from phone booths all over the state and country. I'm walking down the street and I see a phone booth, so I decide to give my CA a call on their dime just for fun. It is also a good idea to try other extentions because it makes their system trigger other skip-trace cases.

    Two other pieces of advise:
    (1) Everything you say or do will be used against you by the CA's in collection attempts.

    (2) Assume a CA is lying unless proven otherwise.
  15. sldruck5

    sldruck5 Guest

    you might want to try going to a consumer credit counseling service. I went with one called consumers first. they where abel to negotiate with my creditors for me. they got my creditors to lower my minimum payments,lower my apr's, adn to not charge me late fees and over the credit limit fees.

    I have heard of people having problems with consumer credit counseling services. but i havnt had any problems yet. In fact i just looked at my credit report and it says i've been making perfect payments on all my cards since october.
  16. Tuit

    Tuit Well-Known Member

    See what I mean Struggler Step by Step Help!

    Thanks cable666

  17. aigle

    aigle Well-Known Member

    Make no mistake about the fact that the credit card companies sue LOTS OF PEOPLE. 10's of thousands of them.

    Just searching some judgments online in the Syracuse, NY area, I see that FUSA got a judgment on this guy:

    Ranal, Jose G. Jr.,114 Abell Ave., Solvay, by Asta Funding Acquisition I LLC, assignee of First USA Bank, P.O. Box 1477, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., $5,660.

    It doesn't seem that FUSA sues as often as some other banks.

    Here are some banks I see getting a lot of judgments between $1000 and $10,000:

    MBNA America Bank NA, Wilmington, Del

    Citibank (South Dakota) NA

    Arrow Financial Services LLC, assignee of Capital One

    Discover Bank by its servicing agent Discover Financial Services Inc., 3311 Mill Meadow Drive, Hilliard, Ohio

    Bank of America, 7301 N. Lincoln Ave., Suite 220, Lincolnwood, Ill

    Chase Manhattan Bank USA NA, 802 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, Del
  18. DaveLV

    DaveLV Well-Known Member

    I've never heard of a judge granting a motion for summary judgement against someone who actually shows up in court.
  19. cable666

    cable666 Well-Known Member

    That is because a summary motion is granted before the court case. Once granted, there is no trial. The case is over.

    That is why you have never seen it.

    At that point, the defendant can only appeal and ask for a hearing to dispute the facts.
  20. breeze

    breeze Well-Known Member

    Isn't it possible that it depends on the judge?


Share This Page